I believe that horror can be an incredible tool for social commentary. I’ve read horror novels that have made me question what humans are capable of, or made me ask myself what I thought about other-ness, or how perception can totally change your life. But I have absolutely no idea what I was supposed to get from Chbosky after Imaginary Friend.

Yes Chbosky is the guy from Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’m not going to talk about any links or comparisons that may or may not exist between the two books. Google that if you’re interested. I’m here only to talk about Imaginary Friend. There won’t be room for anything else.

Me looking at the size of this book
Clocking in at more than 700 pages, Imaginary Friend is about a boy named Christopher.

7 year old Christopher and his mother flee an abusive relationship and move to a new tiny town in Pennsylvania. It seems quaint, the neighborhood seems pleasant, Christopher even makes friends. Then, Christopher goes missing for six days in the forest.

He has no memory of anything that happened while he was there.

Except that there was a ‘nice man’ who lead him out of the forest.

But things are not the same when he comes back out. He and his mother suddenly have lots of good luck, they even win the lottery and can move out of the motel they were staying. And his struggles with dyslexia are a thing of the past.

In fact, after his friends start helping him build a secret tree house in the forest, they all change a little as well. But it these changes don’t come for free. Christopher has grueling, never ending migraines and he can’t sleep. He seems to fall into another world when he dreams and it’s effecting the life he lives with his mom. The town grows sick and people become terrible; they’re angry and lash out.

But that doesn’t stop him. They have to keep building. He has to keep building.

And once the tree house is complete, we learn the door is actually a portal. We also discover that everything we thought we knew, was pretty much a lie.

What follows is literally hundreds of pages of chaos and madness and darkness and death. Kids committing terrible acts of violence, people being hurt. All because Christopher unknowingly unleashes the devil on his town. And of course, by the time we learn the truth, it’s nearly too late.

Until it isn’t I guess?

Honestly, I have no idea what that ending was. Seriously, if someone can respond to this and help a sister out, that would be great. Because I read it, but I have no idea what I was supposed to get out of it.

There was no lesson or reason or ‘a ha‘ moment for me. It didn’t make me think about anything except how awful it would be to have my eyes sown shut. And that makes me a little mad.

Additionally, there were some slow parts (gotta fill 700 pages) and some of it was very simple and repetitive because it was written from the point of view of a seven year old.

So Chbosky spent more then 700 pages to just generally creep me out? That’s it?

I could have watched Blair Witch Project if I wanted that.

In fact, Imaginary Friend doesn’t even really feel like horror? It feels like Chbosky had a lot of meta thoughts on love and right and wrong and religion and couldn’t decide what to do so he put them in a pot, turned on the heat, stirred it a little. Then he decided it needed a lady who tries to drown herself in a bucket of paint and called it a horror novel.

I was bummed. It wasn’t worth the ten year wait and I didn’t think it was worth the read. If you do want horror and you don’t want to read the King, you should read a Head Full of Ghost or Cabin at the End of the World by Tremblay. Or Positive by David Wellington. Just skip Imaginary Friend.

Also, I may have mentioned I’m watching all of Brad Pitt’s movies as part of my 2020 goals and let me just say. Best. Decision. EVER.